News Shorts & Other Busyness
Travellers "Too Friendly to Slander"
Squall 8, Autumn 1994, pg. 7.
MORE evidence that the media are not interested in any revelations on the road to Damascus, even if it comes from their own ranks, came recently from The Sun.
Reporter Damien Lazarus was sent to Bath in disguise, with instructions to “expose New Age Travellers”. Upon his return, Damien's 2,000 word article proved not to be the “We expose workshy, drug-crazed good-for-nothings” angle his editors were looking for.
“For years, New Age Travellers have been tarnished with a sense of hate by the general public," he wrote. "They have been seen as young trouble-makers who do nothing but travel around Britain’s countryside causing havoc and unrest. I discovered that nothing could be further from the truth.” He goes on to describe travellers as “caring individuals” who “are helping to bring about (their) idealistic dream by looking after Britain... They do everything they can to preserve our green fields and trees”. He concludes: “They will continue to live with and protect the earth and will carry on finding their way in life by following their own instincts and by refusing to conform to society.”
Needless to say the planned “exclusive” never made it into the ‘newspaper’, consigned as it was to deputy editor, Neil Wallis’s wastepaper basket (not recycled).
The Sun also sent a reporter to Somerset in order to dig some dirt on Simon Ashdown, son of the Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown. Simon plays in an indie band and is known to hang around with local travellers including those at Tinkers Bubble. Under the pretence of offering recording facilities, the Sun reporter hung around for a few weeks, looking for anything he could find along the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll line. However, much to the disappointment of The Sun’s drooling editorial team, the reporter pulled himself off the job after finding Simon Ashdown and his band “too friendly” to slander.
According to sources, The Sun has decided not to send any one else to Damascus for the time-being.